Garden Lasagna

 

I am always on the look-out for a great vegetarian lasagna.  I know they exist, but to me (a huge cheese lover), I need the perfect mix of veggies and cheese to make it worth the time to make.  This recipe caught my eye because of the liberty it allows in creating a great vegetarian dish with a variety of vegetable and add-in options.  The background sauce seemed like a great base to get creative with.  I am trying to “sneak” more vegetables into my meals, and a veggie lasagna is a great way to do it. I think you could use whatever vegetables you have access to: in the late summer/fall, I bet it would be terrific with different kinds of squashes.  It’s also probably really great without too many vegetables in it-the possibilities for this one are endless.

I will forewarn you, though.  It does take a little time to prepare, so it’s not the best option if you are looking for a quick weeknight meal.  I included a step in the instructions of how to blanch the spinach-make sure to have a bowl of cold water ready as soon as the spinach goes into the boiling water.  I made this on a Sunday afternoon, but the leftovers were great for re-heating the next couple of days.

This veggie lasagna is packed with flavor, color, and (thankfully) cheese.  If you are looking to lighten it up a bit, omit some of the shredded mozzarella and use a part-skim ricotta.  The original recipe calls for the no-boil noodles to be broken into pieces-I wanted a more elegant presentation for my dinner so I chose to keep them intact, so feel free to play around a bit.  I also used a lasagna pan for this (thank you “free gifts with purchase!” at Bed, Bath, and Beyond!), but you could use a normal casserole dish for this one.

Garden Lasagna

Servings: about 8-10

Ingredients

For the basil puree:

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup spinach leaves

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or Parmesan), grated

Salt and pepper, to taste

32 ounces ricotta cheese (One 2-pound container)

1 large egg

For the vegetables:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 8-ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained

1 pound baby spinach

9 ounces of no-boil lasagna noodles

4 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

For garnish:

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

 

Instructions

1. For the basil puree: In your food processor or blender, combine the basil, 1/2 cup spinach leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic and 1/2 cup of the olive oil, processing until a thick paste forms, a few seconds.

2. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper (to taste).  Set aside.

3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, the egg, and more salt and pepper (to taste).  Set aside.

4. To blanch the spinach:  In a large pot over high heat, bring about 8 cups of water to a boil.  Add the 1-pound of spinach to the water, and stir, until the spinach turns bright green, about 30 seconds.  Immediately plunge the spinach into another bowl full of cold water to stop the spinach from cooking.  Drain the spinach and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

5. For the sauce: In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

6. Add the remaining minced garlic and the flour and toss to coat, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.

7. Slowly add the milk to the pan, and stir to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 7-10 minutes.

8. Transfer the roux to a separate bowl, and  let cool for about 15 minutes.

9. Once cooled, add the basil puree to the sauce and set aside.

10. For the vegetables:  Return the sauté pan to the heat and heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering.

11. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until the excess moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.

12.  Transfer the mushrooms to a medium bowl.

13. Add the bell peppers, blanched spinach, and salt and pepper to taste to the mushrooms, mixing well.

14. For the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray your baking pan with cooking spray.

15. Assemble the lasagna by placing about 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer the noodles on top of this, followed by 1/2 cup of the ricotta, 1 cup of the vegetables, 1/2 cup of the sauce, and about 1 cup of the mozzarella.  Repeat this two more times.

16. Pour the remaining sauce over the lasagna and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.

17. Cover the pan with foil and bake until bubbling, about 45 minutes.

18. Uncover the pan, and bake for another 15-20 minutes or so, or until the cheese is lightly browned.

19.  Remove from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes.

20. Garnish with the fresh basil and serve immediately.

 

Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

 

June 14, 2011 - 5:28 am

Blog is the New Black - Wow this looks amazing! I am a huge fan of the Amy’s brand spinach lasagna, as much as I hate to eat pre-packaged foods. This looks like it’s pretty similar. Yum!

June 14, 2011 - 6:53 am

Caroline @ chocolate and carrots - I think that anything that takes time to make is always worth it. It’s almost like you can taste that it took a lot of love. This veggie lasagna looks absolutely delicious! :-)

June 14, 2011 - 9:21 am

Rachel @ Baked by Rachel - Beautiful! Definitely saving this for my brother. I always need ideas handy for when we have gatherings. And I’m totally jealous of your pan btw… I’m off to research price :)

June 14, 2011 - 9:51 am

sara - OH MY! This looks so delicious. I can’t wait for the zucs and peppers to get in season, so I can make a huge batch of this yumminess! Great pics!

June 14, 2011 - 10:42 am

Ang - I would definitely take the time to do this one. I looooove vegetarian dishes. As the summer veggies become more available, one could really have fun with this lasagna.

June 14, 2011 - 12:10 pm

Paula at Dishing The Divine - The way I look at it, any good lasagna will take forever to make, but will be worth it in every bite you take. Also, lasagna tends to make enough for us to eat several times, so I have to chalk up the “big cooking day” to two or three cooking days in my mind and then I’m okay with it. :) These photos are gorgeous, by the way! :)

June 14, 2011 - 12:36 pm

Jill (JBean Cuisine) - This looks absolutely delicious. The is definitely the perfect lasagna for the summer entertaining season. Yumm. Can’t wait to make it.

June 14, 2011 - 1:32 pm

natalie (the sweets life) - I love everything about this dish–it looks fabulous!

June 14, 2011 - 5:57 pm

Anne Marie - This looks amazing! I love everything in it, and I especially like that it has shallots included. I’ll bet it tastes incredible.

June 15, 2011 - 9:39 pm

Claire - My doctor-to-be sister is a vegetarian and will be coming out to CO to live with me during one of her rotations… this recipe will be on the to-cook list! :)

June 16, 2011 - 9:21 am

Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) - This looks amazing. Yes, the prep does look a bit much, but worth it for an awesome vegetarian lasagna.

June 16, 2011 - 12:42 pm

Alicia - I was looking for something special to make for my husband for Father’s Day so I made this veggie lasagna last night (only night able to cook due to other commitments the rest of the week)

As stated, definitely not a weeknight meal…started cooking around 5:45pm and we sat down to eat around 8:45pm. But the kids were down and the kitchen was clean so we had a nice semi-romantic meal.

To save a little time and reduce fat/calories a little I made a few subsitutions…used cooked wheat lasagna noodles vs. uncooked noodles, used ready made pesto sauce from gourmet section instead of using recipe above, 2% milk instead of whole milk, 2 cups of reduced fat mozzerella instead of 4 cups for regular mozzerella…and despite these substitutions I think its turned out great! I can’t wait to dig into the leftovers tonight now that the flavors have had time to set in!!

June 16, 2011 - 3:21 pm

srlacy - Hey Alicia-

I’m glad to hear it turned out well-the substitutions sound great. Next time I make it, I’ll be using some of your ideas to make it better for me!

June 19, 2011 - 1:37 pm

Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd - This looks like exactly what I want to have for dinner!

August 29, 2011 - 7:39 pm

Lex's Life as a New Wife - I have been searching for a good vegetable lasagna and made this for my fiance and future father-in-law. As stated it definitely took a long time to prepare causing our dinner to be a little delayed. However, it was worth the effort and froze pretty well which meant left overs in the future.

September 27, 2011 - 2:16 pm

Lizzie - I made this lasagna last night, and it was fabulous – such good flavors and colors. Hubby loved it, and wants to have the leftovers for tonight. He helped in prepping all the stuff for me and I put it together. It was a breeze with team effort. This recipe is a keeper!

October 9, 2011 - 8:18 pm

Erika - I made this tonight — mine didn’t turn out as pretty and my sauce was really green/pesto color (had two little sous chefs), but it WAS SO GOOD!

I forgot to buy mushrooms, so I used artichoke hearts instead — delish!

January 12, 2012 - 11:51 am

72 Healthy Recipes to Jumpstart 2012 - [...] Garden Lasagna [...]

January 30, 2012 - 10:17 pm

Rachel - I made this tonight for dinner! Absolutely amazing! It definately is not a weeknight meal, as it took me like 2.5 hours to complete:) However, it is worth the labor! LOVE IT! Thanks again!

July 11, 2012 - 11:12 pm

Mary @ mary mary quite contrary - A year later and your fabulous Lasagna is posted on Pinterest ! So glad I found you…what a delicious and mouthwatering creation !

August 13, 2012 - 6:31 pm

ebb & flow :: fabulous finds & divine designs » Garden Lasagna - [...] loves himself some lasagna but it’s not really my idea of a summer dish. When I spotted this garden version on my Pinterest today I thought it just might do the trick during these last warm months. A lighter [...]

August 15, 2012 - 4:51 pm

Terry - wow!! FINALLY a delish dish of veggies and cheese that ISN’T all about Zucchini and other squashes! this really looks GREAT can’t wait to try it! Thank you!

September 8, 2012 - 6:32 pm

Lisa - I just put this fabulous-looking dish into the oven, but I wanted to make a couple comments. I did not see what to do with the mushrooms, after they were “transferred to a small bowl, so I just added them in with peppers and spinach. ? One other comment: I had about half of the 2 lbs of ricotta mixture leftover after following your layering instructions. I wondered why so much was called for, as usually I use 1 lb for recipes I have made in the past. Other than that, I can’t wait to take my first bite!

September 13, 2012 - 11:19 am

Eileen - I was curious to make it gluten free can I use almond flour? do i need to use a different ratio? I cant wait to make this! YUMMM!

September 13, 2012 - 11:57 am

srlacy - Hi Eileen-
I’m sure you could use your usual gluten-free substitutions here, but I am certainly no expert. I don’t want to steer you wrong. If you do end up trying it, I would be interested in hearing how it turns out for you!

September 24, 2012 - 6:21 pm

Garden Lasagna | The Wannabe Cooks - [...] The Curvy Carrot) #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; [...]

October 8, 2012 - 8:41 pm

Julietta Fausnaught - Vegetarian dishes are not only healthy, they are also very tasty. i really love vegan dishes. ,,“’

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December 23, 2012 - 1:55 pm

liz la rocca - I was wondering if anyone ever made this a day ahead and kept in fridge till time to cook the next day?

February 17, 2013 - 12:00 pm

Claudia - Thanx for this delicious recipe :) My hubby and I cooked your lasagna for lunch today. We also added some dried tomatoes in oil…Really yummie :) Claudia from Germany

March 28, 2013 - 9:10 am

Fantasy Menu Planning – Easter Dinner # 3 - [...] third menu will satisfy some of our vegetarian readers beginning with a beautiful Garden Lasagna packed with spinach, mushrooms, roasted peppers and other good items, including a fair amount of [...]

April 27, 2013 - 9:17 am

Shannon - This looks awesome! I am making homemade ricotta tomorrow..I am going to whip this up.

June 10, 2013 - 1:36 am

Tronesia - I discovered this on Pinterest Friday and had to make it for Sunday dinner. It was delicious! It took some time to make but it was so worth it…thanks for sharing :)

June 11, 2013 - 5:55 am

garden lasagna | annabellkyllonen - [...] thecurvycarrot.com via Christine on [...]

July 19, 2013 - 12:14 pm

Top 10 Best Italian Recipes - [...] Recipe [...]

August 1, 2013 - 5:17 am

6 Delicious Italian Recipes Everyone Should Try - Exquisite Girl - [...] For the vegetarians, we have a wonderful recipe for lasagna. The ingredients are fresh basil leaves, half a cup of spinach leaves, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, half a cup of olive oil, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, a large egg and 32 oz. of ricotta cheese. With these you’ll be making the basil puree. For the vegetables you’ll need 4 tablespoons of butter, half a cup of shallots, ¼ cup of flour, 3 cups of milk, 8 oz. of mushrooms, roasted red bell peppers, 1 pound of baby spinach, 9 oz. of lasagna noodles and 4 and a half cups of mozzarella cheese. Garnish it with fresh basil leaves.{found on thecurvycarrot}. [...]

August 20, 2013 - 2:21 pm

collette - OK…I live in Las Vegas and the last thing you want to do in the summer is cook…much less turn on the oven. So…I adapted it to cook in an oval slow cooker and it was delish! I get tired of pasta and tomatoey dishes. This was superb. I actually saw it on Pinterest. Thank you. I will make it again the same way.

September 18, 2013 - 6:04 pm

Tuesday Eats - [...] Lasagna via curvy [...]

October 6, 2013 - 5:02 pm
November 3, 2013 - 3:53 pm

gail - Omg! This is my sevond time making this dish…yummu…it takes do long to mske it…butbso worth it….I put more mushrooms in it…and used wine to cook thrm fown…thank uou gor sharing this…

November 6, 2013 - 1:09 pm
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Vegetable Lasagna with Pesto Béchamel Sauce | The Pinspired Mama - [...] Powered by Recipage Recipe inspired by the curvy carrot. [...]

December 8, 2013 - 4:24 am
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Garden Lasagna | Moments of life - [...] the basil puree: In your food processor or blender, combine the basil, 1/2 cup spinach leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic and [...]

January 17, 2014 - 3:31 pm
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March 28, 2014 - 6:05 am

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Cup of Bloom A Celebration of Italian Food - It's Delicious » Cup of Bloom - [...] Recipe & Photo credit to: TheCurvyCarrot [...]

April 8, 2014 - 11:38 am

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May 9, 2014 - 8:29 am

Garden Lasagna &raquo, The Curvy Carrot | Thrifty Mom - [...] {Garden Lasagna} I thought this was SO good (DH – thought it was, ok …said it was too ‘pesto-y’. The sauce did turn out greener than what is in the picture (had 2 little sous chefs on that dish)…I forgot to buy mushrooms, which I didn’t miss b/c I don’t really like them —-and added artichoke hearts. Yummmmm — that was a great choice! I will make again, sans the help. Also — need to cut recipe in half — too much for just 2 adults and 2 little guys. Froze half — will update with how it froze.Leftovers were even better!Recipe link:thecurvycarrot.com [...]

August 28, 2014 - 6:03 pm

Oklahoma Tomato Lasagna Gardening In Containers - […] Garden Lasagna | The Curvy Carrot – 6 Delicious Italian Recipes Everyone Should Try – Exquisite Girl-[...] For the vegetarians, we have a wonderful recipe for lasagna. The ingredients are fresh basil …… […]

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